NJ Parking Leader Steven R. Monetti
June 12, 2017
A TRIBUTE: ‘To fully do his life justice, I would have to write a book.’
Steven R. Monetti, Chairman of the North Bergen (NJ) Parking Authority, Founder of the New Jersey Parking Institute, and former Executive Director of the Fort Lee (NJ) Parking Authority, passed away April 28.
I met Steven R. Monetti in 1977, when he interviewed me for a legal research project for the Fort Lee (NJ) Parking Authority (FLPA). I had graduated law school that year and was clerking for a judge. He hired me and, as the saying goes, “the rest is history.” Thus began a 40-year collaborative relationship in parking, government and politics.
Steve was my friend and colleague. He was a force of nature, a dynamo and literally bigger than life. He started his career as a Special Police Officer in Fort Lee. His enthusiasm, professionalism and political savvy caught the eye of local government officials, and he was selected as Executive Director of the FLPA.
As its Executive Director, Steve was a founding member of the NJ Association of Parking Authorities and Agencies, now known as the NJ Parking Institute (NJPI). He served as its first Vice President and soon thereafter became President. Steve served in that capacity for 35 years, until 2016, when he stepped down to chair the institute’s newly created Board of Advisors.
Steve built NJPI into what was, at one time, the largest state parking association in the U.S. and the model for all state associations thereafter.
As the President, Steve made friends easily, and they tended to be friends for life. His friendships, government relationships and political alliances transcended political parties and geographic boundaries. Steve could pick up the phone and call officials and power brokers in every major city in New Jersey; Newark, Camden, Trenton, Jersey City.
Steve persuaded the state to adopt and purchase real-time handheld enforcement computers for parking summons issuance in 1990, after five years of persistence (long after I had dropped out of the discussion).
To this day, NJ is the only state with a single, unified system for the issuance, processing and adjudication of parking offenses.
Steve brought residential parking permit (RPP) and payment in lieu of parking (PILOP) programs to the state. At the time Steve introduced these concepts to local government, they were revolutionary and “outside the box” thinking.
(In both instances, at Steve’s request, I did the research to demonstrate that the programs were legal, wrote the ordinances and helped him persuade the Mayor and City Council of Fort Lee and other cities to adopt the programs.)
Steve was appointed by Gov. Jim McGreevy to serve on the NJ Transportation Advisory Committee — a position he served in for 10 years.
He was on the IPI’s Board of Advisors for a number of years, and one term on its Board of Directors. He was a member of that board’s Finance Committee, which wrote the Finance Plan that helped save the IPI from insolvency.
After Steve retired as the FLPA’s Executive Director, he remained active in the parking industry as Chairman of the Parking Authority of North Bergen, his hometown for many years.
Besides parking, Steve’s other passion in life was boxing. His uncle was a long-time NJ and nationally recognized boxing trainer and promoter. Unknown by many of our colleagues, Steve financed, trained and promoted boxers and boxing matches. Nothing gave Steve more pleasure than to take a ride to Atlantic City to watch one of his boxers fight at the then-Trump Taj Mahal or the AC convention center.
After 40 years of association with Steven R. Monetti — and the two of us being called the “Laurel and Hardy of Parking” by some — there are many Steve stories that I could share. However, to fully do his life justice, I would have to write a book.
I can say with certainty that the parking industry, government and the world are richer places for Steve having been among us, and a poorer one for him being gone. I will truly miss my dear friend.
Leonard T. Bier, CAPP, JD, is General Legal Counsel of the New Brunswick (NJ) Parking Authority and Executive Director & General Counsel of the NJ Parking Institute.